Mount Pleasant, SC (PRWEB) August 19, 2009
On Wednesday, August 19, during the month's highest tide, tug boats will transport the destroyer USS Laffey, to Detyen's Shipyard in North Charleston, South Carolina for repairs to her hull.
By dawn's early light, the USS Laffey, one of Patriots Point's National Historic Landmark ships, will be pulled from her berth at Patriots Point in the Charleston Harbor to begin the two hour trek up the Cooper River to the shipyard. Repairs are expected to take three to four months.
"In deciding the fate of the Laffey, the Patriots Point Development Authority (PPDA) Board of Directors faced some tough decisions and a great deal to consider," said Dick Trammell, interim executive director. "After objectively evaluating the situation and all outlying factors, they ultimately decided to save the ship."
Shortly after a survey by Naval Sea Systems in 2008 indicated the ship's issues with rust, the Laffey sprung her first leak. While the PPDA Board of Directors quickly began exploring their options, emotions ran high as they deliberated what avenue of action to pursue. A number of alternatives were considered, including sinking the ship offshore to become a memorial reef or undertaking measures to temporarily repair the inside of the hull until necessary capital could be raised, but the ultimate decision to have the Laffey permanently repaired came at a price.
Although Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is a state-owned agency, they do not receive any appropriated funding and, instead, rely on the generous contributions of donors, members and associations, as well as museum revenue, to subsidize these multi-million dollar repairs. Most recently, State Treasurer Converse Chellis worked closely with the State Budget and Control Board to help secure a $9.2 million loan that would help Patriots Point make these emergency repairs.
When the USS Laffey returns, she will rejoin a group of living historical artifacts that serve as a testament to the honor, bravery and sacrifice exhibited by our nation's service men and women. A fleet of historic ships, including the USS Yorktown and USS Clamagore, as well as the Medal of Honor Museum, Cold War Submarine Memorial and the Vietnam Naval Support Base (the only exhibit of its kind in the United States), provide guests to Patriots Point a first-hand look at life on the front lines.
A part of Patriots Point since 1981, the USS Laffey has long since been a popular attraction at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. The most decorated WWII-era destroyer still in existence, the USS Laffey is the only Sumner Class destroyer still afloat in the world.
About USS Laffey
The USS Laffey's incredible journey began more than 65 years ago when the destroyer was commissioned on February 8, 1944. After supporting the D-Day landings at Normandy in June 6, 1944, the ship joined the U.S. offensive against Japan and was attacked by 22 Japanese bombers and kamikaze aircraft on April 16, 1945. Five kamikaze aircraft and three 500 lbs. bombs struck the ship killing 31 and wounding 71 of the Laffey's 336 crewmembers. Badly damaged but still operational, the Laffey's crew responded by shooting down nearly half of the attacking aircraft after which the destroyer earned the name "the ship that would not die."
About Patriots Point
Patriots Point (http://www.patriotspoint.org), on the Charleston Harbor in Mount Pleasant, SC, is home of Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum and a fleet of National Historic Landmark ships, including the USS YORKTOWN, Cold War Submarine Memorial and the only Vietnam Support Base Camp in the U.S. Patriots Point is also headquarters to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the agency's official Medal of Honor Museum. As an agency, the Naval and Maritime Museum strives to preserve the living history of our nation's bravest men and women while telling their stories in honorable, educational and engaging ways.
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